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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Wednesday, 10.22.2008 / 12:37 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Yesterday was the power play’s turn to have a different look.  Today, those changes carried over to even strength.

Paul Branecky
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Continuing with what worked in the team’s last game against Anaheim, Rod Brind’Amour centered a line with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, while Eric Staal played with Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Eaves, who is back on a scoring line after bouncing around the lineup in the early going.

It’s the first time in recent memory that Ray Whitney and Eric Staal have been split up.  That change seems to be designed to balance the overall scoring a little bit more, as both of those players have done their part with six and five points through the first two games, respectively, to pace the Canes in scoring.  “The Weapon” (no longer secret), Niclas Wallin, is tied with Staal for second place.

One benefit of the changes could be more involvement from players like Samsonov and Eaves.  They’ve combined for only one point so far - an assist by Eaves on opening night.  I think Samsonov in particular has looked fine so far, and his points will come.  The recent changes may speed that up - both players had their chances in the Anaheim game.

”I think it’s just a balance to get all the lines contributing, just to give it a different look since we had lost a couple of games,” said coach Peter Laviolette.  “Roddy and Whit played together for a year and a half, and the year they played together they were both the leading scorers.  Staal has had some success with Samsonov, and hopefully we can generate offense from more than just one player and do it from multiple lines and the back end.”

Brandon Sutter’s line with Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose remained unchanged, while Wade Brookbank and Dan LaCouture rounded out an incomplete fourth line caused by Tuomo Ruutu’s continued absence – he skated on his own for a lengthy period prior to practice, but is unlikely to play tomorrow.

“I think at this point it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Laviolette of Ruutu.  “He’s been out for a while, this has been nagging, and I think to get through a practice and give him some time to make sure he’s 100 percent (will be good).  Then when he comes back, he’s here for good.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45